Saturday, February 29, 2020
Thursday, February 27, 2020
1. Nietzsche adored his father, who died when Friedrich was only five, compelling him to later write, “Black clouds billowed up, the lightning flashed and damaging thunderbolts fell from the heavens.”
2. Maybe, for Nietzsche, that is when God died; or maybe it was six months later when he looked out his bedroom window to see a white spirit rise from his father’s grave and enter the nearby church, organ music playing, then returning to the grave with something beneath its arm; for when Nietzsche awakened from this dream, his brother Little Joseph, not quite two years old, suffered a stroke and died.
3. It was in Leipzig in 1866, while at university, that Nietzsche contracted syphilis after visiting a brothel.
4. Perhaps Nietzsche felt stronger for it, but anxiety, migraine headaches, nausea and poor eyesight compelled poor Fritz, at age 35, to relinquish his chair as a classics professor at the University of Basle and seek a quieter, calmer place for the full-time writing of experimental philosophy.
5. Thus Nietzsche found Sils Maria, where walking–and the electromagnetic power of the Engadine valley–gave him solace and inspiration, supplemented by hashish oil, which contributed to his very deep thinking.
6. On June 3rd, 1889, while standing on the Piazza Carlo Alberto in Turin, Nietzsche suffered a nervous breakdown when he saw a man beating a horse; sobbing, he rushed to embrace and comfort the horse, placing both arms around the nag’s neck.
7. Nietzsche was led back to his room nearby, and when he awakened from a nap, Fritz believed he had succeeded God (whom he’d already declared dead) as ruler of all mankind–suggesting also that he could control the weather.
8. Nietzsche’s doctor, a close friend, was summoned and, upon arrival, arranged for Fritz to be smuggled out of Italy–to Basle, Switzerland– for fear the Italians would forcibly confine him.
9. Throughout the journey by train, Nietzsche sang, danced, shouted and asked that women be brought to him; Swiss doctors soon declared him insane.
10. The mediocrity of man, along with syphilis microbes mulching his brain, and hashish oil and chloral hydrate (which Nietzsche took for sleep), had driven the philosopher mad; and, faithless, since God for him had long since died, Nietzsche spent the last ten years of his life casually strolling a lunatic asylum before transcending from the chaos of his life into a dancing star.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Van Stein and I sit at the bar of Waldhaus with a bottle of Alsace Riesling. It is cold, not sweet, near perfect.
Van Stein studies the collection of orbs on his camera, shows me Nietzsche. “It’s orbasmic!”
“Why us?” I ask. “Why are we tuned into this stuff and not others?”
Van Stein shrugs. “We are exactly where we’re meant to be.”
“I speak Californian, too, but there’s more to it,” I say. “I think it’s because we, for our own individual reasons, unlike most other people, have managed to escape life by rote, nine-to-five jobs with scheduled annual vacations to the same old resorts. We avail ourselves. That’s the only sense I can make of this.”
JL and Mazey appear.
Says Mazey to Van Stein, “I’ve been totally blown away.”
Van Stein exchanges glances with me. “Is this a set up?”
I chuckle. “Before you got here this evening,” I say to Mazey, “I used those exact words about you being blown away. But I haven’t told him why.”
We stroll down to Alpenrose Romantik restaurant, a hotel Nietzsche lodged in before moving into Nietzsche Haus, and where he took his meals.
The dining room shows no trace of Nietzsche, but instead features a large abstract portrait of Albert Einstein with colored orbs in a semi-circle over his head.
If we’d expected Nietzsche Franks & Beans or a plaque in his honor, we were plumb out of luck.
We order "salmon-three-ways" and "spaghetti with large shrimp in piquant tomato sauce," over which Mazey and JL tell their tachyon energy stories to Van Stein.
The interesting thing about this dinner is how we, the four of us, are completely focused upon ourselves. Food and wine is delivered, but we are generally oblivious to all else, riveted by our non-stop mirth and merriment, laughing as if stoned on good cannabis, entranced by the bond we now share through this mystical travel experience.
Mazey produces her camera and snaps a shot of Van Stein, inspects the image. “I got one! I got one!” She shows it around: an orb hovering over Van Stein’s head.
After dinner, we drive to Nietzsche Haus to see it in darkness.
I snap a photo, the first from my camera.
An orb appears. Not just the usual ball of white translucent light, which is just plain boring by now. This large orb is multi-colored, like a shimmering opal.
“Oh, my goodness,” says Van Stein. “This is Nietzsche: I’m free! I’m free! I’m coming back with you guys! No question, we liberated him.”